Insurers are waiving out of pocket costs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and some are also waiving visit costs associated with testing. It is imperative you check with your insurance and keep abreast of state to federal changes for the exact tests or services that will be waived and through what time period. However, you could still incur substantial medical bills if you require treatment for COVID-19 so keep up to date with healthcare policy design surrounding out of pocket costs for COVID-19, as it is rapidly evolving.
In this age, many people pay for most of their purchases with their credit cards. Some also do this with their medical bills. However, the question is: is it wise to pay your medical bills for COVID-19 with your credit card? It depends. Below, are points to consider helping you decide whether you should use your credit card to pay your medical bills or not.
Pros to Using your Credit Cards to Pay for Medical Bills
- Acceptability: Credit cards are widely accepted, and they always suffice when a service provider doesn’t accept checks. It is also a great option in situations when you can’t write a check or pay cash for a procedure.
- Convenience: Credit cards are very easy to obtain if you meet your credit requirements. It is so easy, you can get one almost immediately after applying.
- Interest Rates: Credit cards sometimes offer a low-interest or no-interest promotional period. It gets even better when you use one with a 0% APR period; with this, your interest does not accumulate until the APR period is over.
- Rewards and Perks: You can get rewards from your credit card provider when you use cards in offsetting bills.
- Develop Positive Payment History: Your credit card can help you develop a positive payment history credit if you make your payments on time.
Cons of Using Credit Cards to Offset Medical Bills
- Insurance: Be sure you know exactly what your insurance covers, as getting your money back after paying with your credit card can be tedious and take very long. There’s a high chance insurance coverage related to COVID-19 treatments could change, as it is a new health issue.
- Poor Credit Score: You can hurt your credit score badly if you default on a credit card payment for over thirty (30) days, and your provider reports the late payment to the bureau. Fortunately, health care providers cannot report your late payments for at least six months; this way, you have more time to protect your credit score.
- Increased Debt: Many medical debts do not carry interest. However, if you take a balance on your card and you do not have a 0% rate, you can accumulate interest when using your card to pay off medical bills.
Additional Steps to Take When Paying Medical Bills
- Know Your Payment Options: Do not wait until there is an emergency before you know your payment options as emergencies are not the best times to make wise money decisions.
- Double Check Your Medical Bills: Your bills could be saddled with mistakes. So, always check to be sure you are not paying for errors or duplicate bills.
- Confirm Insurance Cover: Make sure your insurance covers what it should. This may take a few phone calls to your insurer if your plan policy booklet is unclear.
- Negotiate Your Bill: You can negotiate anything, including healthcare. You can attempt to negotiate a reduced balance with your healthcare provider using average cost estimators from your insurer or online resources. Remember, however, each circumstance is unique and yours may be more complex.
- Bill Payment Plans: Most likely your healthcare provider will be open to a workable payment plan. Maybe at this time you can only pay X but in 60 days you can pay more. Ask your provider to consider your circumstance while keeping in mind your physician or medical facility is also running a business.
- Get Home Equity Line Of Credit: Owning a home could get you a medical loan with sensible interest rates. However, you could lose your home if you do not pay back, so you may want to try getting a loan from family members or friends.
- File for Bankruptcy: While this might seem extreme, you can consider it when other options prove fruitless and your debt ceiling is such that you require a fresh start.
Using your credit card to pay for your medical bills, including coronavirus treatment, can be a quick fix, however, it may cause additional long-lasting negative consequences. Evaluate your situation and all available options.